According to Benne and Sheats (1948, 2007), there are different roles a person can play in a group to contribute to the successful completion of a task. Not only is that, there are also certain roles that mat damage the team work process in a group. The many roles are then separated into three main categories, namely: task roles (i.e., roles that is essential to get the work done); social roles (i.e., roles that contribute to the proper functioning of the group); and individualistic roles (i.e., roles that will cause the group to become dyfunctioning).
In this section, the various roles that contribute to the completion of tasks, which is the task roles, as mentioned by Benne and Sheats (1948, 2007) will be discussed. Firstly, it is about the initiator or contributor roles. Under such roles, the initiator will propose original ideas or ways to approach the group problems, or towards completion of goals. Such a role is necessary to move the group forwards, to come into discussion, to explore more about the goals and to kick starts the project. The second role is about information seeker. Such a role is necessary to find out more relevant, appropriate, fact-based, accurate and sufficient information relating to the problems to be solved or goals to be achieved. Thirdly, it is about the information giver. Under such a role, the person shall provide factual information necessary to the completion of the tasks. He is often the authority of the subject to be solved or the goals to be achieved. Then, another crucial role is about the opinion seeker. Such a role is often necessary to ask about the values, ideas, opinions as well as feedback from the group members. Such a role will take in the different perspectives and incorporate it into the decision making process as well as the problem solving process of the group. Then, another role that should be played by the team members is to become the opinion giver. Members should be readily confident to voice up their opinions to discussion purposes in the group. By giving more opinions on a subject matter, the subject can be analyzed and approached from different dimensions and angles. This is necessary for more creative problem solving process. Yet, another critical role is about to become the evaluator in a group. Such a role is essential to evaluate proposals, ideas, or opinions against certain criteria. Evaluator must be able to access the reasonability of an ideas, and to judge it the opinion is factual based, or can be readily incorporated into group work. Apart from that, it is also necessary to have people playing the energizer role. Such a role is often played by the leader. The energizer is responsible to concentrate the group’s energy on forward advancement. It is important to ensure high morale of people in the group and then to stimulate the people to take on challenges ahead for the completion of tasks as well as to act accordingly toward achievement of stated goals.
In this section, several group activities will be discussed. The roles played by each of the members will be analyzed, and the manner in which the different roles contribute to the completion of the tasks will be analyzed.
The first activity to be discussed is about group discussion during lecturer class. In this task, if is often arranged that a discussion between a group of people on certain subject or problems in the lecturer class. The group members are responsible to contribute ideas, to evaluate others’ ideas and to come into conclusion on the required or relevant remedies or strategies to deal with the problem effectively. Here, initiator is required to come out with a way to deal with the problems. Initiator will link the group members together, and to make sure that the passive members become more confident and easy to participate in the group discussion. The every team members should play at least three different roles, namely, opinion seekers, opinion giver, and evaluators. It is crucial everyone has the chance to give their opinions, so that the problems assigned can be analyzed from different perspectives. Lastly, the many information and perspectives need to be compiled, into a consistent piece of argument. The conclusion will then be presented by the presenter to the other students in the class.
The second activity to be discussed is about the organizing of informal gathering with new friends met in college. Here, initiator is important, to suggest a gathering to be held, and the activities to be performed under the informal gathering. The reasons should also be provided (e.g., to enhance personal relationships, to know the cultural differences between people, to know new friends and others). The certain people must play the role of energizer, to motivate people to take out the free time to gather for informal or friendly activities. Then, information seeker is required to make sure the relevant information about the place for gathering, the activities to be performed, the free time or schedule that participants have. Depending on the nature of the activities, certain other roles may be required as well.
The third activity to be discussed is about the completion of assignments from college in a group. In such event, group leader will be selected. The leader will play the initiator, energizer and the leader roles. It is important to get the team of people together, moving towards completion of the tasks assigned in timely manner. Then the different tasks to be done must be delegated to the responsible person respectively. It is crucial to determine the roles that should be played by each of the team members; either he should be the information seeker, information provider, evaluators, compiler, recorder, or the presenter. In fact, under a small group, a particular team member may need to play different roles in the group discussion and task completion process. Different roles are essential to contribute to the completion of the tasks. For example, to perform research on a task, information seeker must find out relevant information on the subject. All team member should play the opinion seeker and giver roles, to enable the team to approach the subject from different perspectives. The evaluator is essential to ensure the information to be incorporated is valid, implementable and valid.
In this section, the group activity chosen is about the completion of group assignment given by lecturers or tutors. Depending on the different roles that I have played, I have contributed in different manners to the success completion of the tasks. In the following paragraphs, the different roles I had played, and the respective contributions are discussed. Both the positive contributions, as well as my personal weaknesses that should be further improved in playing these roles are discussed.
Initiators. Very often, I am the initiator to ask the team member to come together for meetings. I would often stress the importance of getting things done in the fastest possible time. I would like to call group member for discussion purposes. Thus, I often contribute to the kick starting of the working of project in a group. However, apparently, I am not effective in getting the people to get motivated about completing the tasks assigned in the fastest manner possible. I am lacking of convincing power to energize the people to come together and to complete the projects early. Thus, it is necessary for me to train up my ability to persuade others to complete the project earlier, and to exercise more initiatives in successful complete the assignments given with flying colors.
Information seeker. Often, I also try to find much information relevant to the subject from internet, journal, library, newspaper and even bookstores. Upon finding the information, I will share it out with other team member, so that they can know what have been discovered pertaining to the subject or assignments to be done. However, in the context of information seeking, I am not efficient, as most of the time, I have to spend a lot of time finding the relevant information to the assignment. I am always unaware of the best sources of information to be referred to, and thus, spending unnecessary time in different places.
Information giver. As I am good and interested in gathering information about the subject being discussed, I always serve as the information provider in the group discussion. I will be able to bring out the books relevant to the assignment, the journals as well as the newspaper article on the assignment. However, my main weakness is not able to summarize the much information into a concise points form. Besides, I am weak at categorizing and arranging the information into a more structure piece of document. Thus, many of the information I gathered is not being presented well in assignments.
In this section, my personal strengths as well as weaknesses in terms of working in a team or group will be discussed. Such an analysis is necessary for me to build stronger self awareness on my personal self, and to guide my personal development and improvement in the future.
Proactive. Often, I am proactive in getting things done. I like to move fast, and to get things performed as early as possible, and I derive great satisfaction and fulfillment in the process. Often, I have the strong motivation to get thing done. Such an attitude often put certain degree of pressure to move my team member to work harder than they would be if without pressure. Besides, I am motivated to gather relevant information and resources necessary to the completion of a task.
Having a result-oriented mindset. I always focus strongly on getting results. I believe in getting things done. I am a result orientation person. Thus, I would like to see real results from other group member, and would be unhappy to accept excuses of non-performance from other team members. Thus, such an attitude often able to ensure that I can complete the tasks assigned to me in the guided time line.
Responsible. I am a pretty responsible person. I understand my duties and responsibilities. In a group, I also understand my roles and my duties as a group member, required for formation of an effective team. In working as a team, I always able to ensure that my part is done properly, and take the responsibilities for my mistakes that may affect the team performance.
Lack of patient in listening to others. I have little patient in listening to others, making me not really an effective listeners. Listening skills are crucial to interpersonal relationships (Zueschner, 1997). It is necessary to build up effective listening skills to ensure better group work or team performance. It is necessary for someone to see things from various perspectives. By seeing things from different angles, then it is possible that I able to evaluate and judge a situation from a more comprehensive picture or manner.
Communication skills. My main weaknesses in a team work are to communicate effectively with other people. According to Trenholm (1995), communication is important in ensuring harmony and effective relationships between human. It is crucial to ensure people can come together in a group, work as a team, and then contribute their very best to the team performance. However, I am weak in getting my ideas through other people, or to get the opinions from others. Understanding each other may not come easy to me, as I require conscious efforts to do so. Thus, it is important for me to improve my communication skills, to enhance the effective interaction, discussion and corporation with others.
Lack of abilities in evaluating information. In a team work, there are many opinions and perspectives by different people. Perhaps due to lack of experience, solid knowledge and understandings on the subject being discussed, I am often weak at evaluating the relevancy and accuracy of the information provided to me. Everything sound reasonable to me, and yet I understand that some ideas shall be given more weights from others. Besides, I am not able to judge the accuracy and reliability of information presented to me. This is affecting me in not able to conclude the discussion from team work, and thus should be improved in the future.
Benne, K., & Sheats, P. (1948). Functional roles of group members. Journal of Social Issues, 4, 41-49.
Benne, K., & Sheats, P. (2007). Functional Roles of Group Members. Group Facilitation,(8), 30-35.
Trenholm, S. (1995). Thinking through communication: An Introduction to the study of human communication. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Zueschner, R. (1997). Communicating Today. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.